Push Ahead with Reform Despite More Difficulties*
February 7, 2014
Sergei Brilyov1: The Third Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee adopted the "Decision of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on Some Major Issues Concerning Comprehensively Continuing the Reform," and you have been made head of the Central Leading Group for Comprehensively Continuing the Reform. What I want to know is how you will govern. What will China's reform focus on next? What do you think of the prospects for China's development?
Xi Jinping: These are important questions concerning China's development. It has been more than 35 years since the Third Plenary Session of the 11th CPC Central Committee launched China's reform and opening up in 1978. We have made remarkable achievements, but we should continue to make progress. We have set the Two Centenary Goals. At present economic globalization is progressing rapidly, intense competition in overall national strength is intensifying between countries, and the international situation is complicated and volatile. We have concluded from this that fundamentally speaking, caught in fierce international competition, we are like a boat traveling upstream: We must press ahead or we will fall behind.
China's reform has been greatly furthered in both breadth and depth. Top-level design is needed to advance reform. Last November the Third Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee made overall planning for advancing reform comprehensively, and formulated the road map and schedule for reform. The plan includes over 330 reform measures for 15 areas, such as the economy, politics, culture, society, ecological progress and Party building. So we have sounded the bugle to advance reform. Our general objective is to improve and develop the socialist system with Chinese characteristics, and modernize our national governance system and capacity.
To concentrate on advancing reform, we founded the Central Leading Group for Comprehensively Continuing the Reform with me as the head. The group is designed to make overall planning and coordination for major issues, and share out the tasks to be implemented. Now that we have a plan, it is most important to implement it.
It is no easy job to advance reform in China, which has a population of over 1.3 billion. Having been pushed ahead for more than 30 years, China's reform has entered a deep-water zone. It can be said that the easy part of the job has been done to the satisfaction of all. What is left are tough bones that are hard to chew. This requires us to act boldly and progress steadily. To act boldly means to advance reform despite difficulties and be eager to take on challenges, chew tough bones, and wade through dangerous shoals. To progress steadily means to stay on course and proceed in safety, and, more importantly, make no fatal mistakes.
I have full confidence in the prospects for China's development. Why? The underlying reason is that after long-term exploration we have found a correct development path suited to China's actual conditions. As long as we rely closely on the 1.3 billion Chinese people and firmly stay on our own path we will overcome all difficulties and obstacles, make new achievements, and finally reach our goal.
The CPC exercises state power for the people. The people's aspiration for a better life is our goal. To put it briefly, I will govern by serving the people and fulfilling all my responsibilities.
Brilyov: You have been the president of China for almost a year. How do you feel as the leader of such a big country? What hobbies do you have? What are your favorite sports?
Xi: China covers a land of 9.6 million sq km and has 56 ethnic groups and a population of over 1.3 billion. China's social and economic development level and its people's living standards are not high. It is not easy to govern such a country, so I must ascend a height to enjoy a distant view while planting my feet on solid ground. I worked in different regions in China for a long time, so I am fully aware that the differences are great between the country's east and west, between the central and local governments, between different localities and between different levels of local governments. Therefore, as a Chinese leader, I must take all factors into consideration based on a correct understanding of China's conditions, maintain an overall balance, and concentrate on priorities to promote the overall situation. I alternate my attention between major and minor issues, and, to put it figuratively, it is like playing the piano with all ten fingers.
Since the people have put me in the position of head of state, I must put them above everything else, bear in mind my responsibilities that are as weighty as Mount Tai, always worry about the people's security and wellbeing, and work conscientiously day and night; share the same feelings with the people, share both good and bad times with them, and work in concerted efforts with them.
Speaking of hobbies, I like reading, watching movies, traveling and strolling. As you know, I almost have no private time in the position I am in. A song titled, "Where Did the Time Go" became popular in China during this Spring Festival. For me, the question is where my private time goes. I spend all of it on my work. Now, the only thing I have managed to keep as a hobby is reading, which has become my way of life. Reading invigorates my mind, gives me inspiration and cultivates my moral force. I have read many works by Russian writers, including Ivan Krylov, Alexander Pushkin, Nikolai Gogol, Mikhail Lermontov, Ivan Turgenev, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Nikolay Nekrasov, Nikolay Chernyshevsky, Leo Tolstoy, Anton Chekhov and Mikhail Sholokhov. I remember clearly many of their excellent chapters and stories.
Speaking of sports, I like swimming and mountaineering. I learned to swim at the age of four or five. I also like football, volleyball, basketball, tennis and martial arts. Among snow and ice sports, I like to watch ice hockey, speed skating, figure skating and freestyle skiing. Ice hockey is my favorite. It requires not only individual strength and skill but also teamwork and collaboration. It is indeed a good sport.
* Part of an exclusive interview with the Russia Television.
1 Sergei Brilyov is a host of the Russia Television.
(Not to be republished for any commercial or other purposes.)